February 13th, 2009
04:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Trouble signs for Obama over Cabinet picks?

Obama's second pick for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination Friday.
Obama's second pick for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Four weeks into his administration, President Barack Obama is still searching for secretaries of Commerce and Health and Human Services.

But six out of 10 Americans think Obama is doing a good job choosing members of his Cabinet, according to a national poll. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released this week suggests that 61 percent of those questioned give the president a thumbs-up when it comes to choosing his Cabinet, with 38 percent saying Obama is doing a poor job selecting the top officials in his administration.

While 61 percent is a solid majority, it's far lower than the 80 percent of respondents who say Obama is providing strong leadership for the country, the 76 percent who feel he's doing a good job handling foreign policy, the 72 percent who indicate Obama's doing a good job dealing with the economy and the 68 percent who give the President a thumbs-up when it comes to handling policies on terrorism.

It's also 15 points lower than the president's overall approval rating of 76 percent.

"His approval rating on choosing his Cabinet is a good number, but it's his biggest weakness," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 7-8, before Senator Judd Gregg stepped down Thursday from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, but after former Senator Tom Daschle dropped out earlier this month as Health and Human Services nominee. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico also stepped down at the beginning of the year from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, bringing the number of formal Obama Cabinet nominees to drop out to three.

When former President George W. Bush was moving into the White House in 2001, only one of his Cabinet designates stepped down after being nominated; the same with Bill Clinton when he was taking over the presidency back in 1993.

When broken down by party, the poll suggests that 88 percent of Democratic respondents say Obama is doing a good job when it comes to choosing his Cabinet, with 11 percent saying he's doing a poor job. It's a different story among Republicans, with 36 percent giving Obama the thumbs-up and 64 percent feeling the President's doing a poor job when it comes to choosing the top members of his administration.

"Democrats are standing by him. Republicans aren't, even though he used some of his Cabinet picks to reach out to the GOP," adds Holland.

Gregg would have joined Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as the third Republican in Obama's Cabinet.

The poll questioned 806 adult Americans by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (729 Responses)
  1. Tony

    With Judd Gregg exposing to the public how Obama wants to control the census for his own dirty political gain, I'm certain that opinion of his cabinet picks as dropped further. Everything is dropped for this guy, he's turned out to the authoritarian Socialist that McCain and Palin warned everybody. But no, you had to vote for the "cool" candidate who talked street on the stump. Enjoy your change, cause you'll get nothing but pennies from this administration.

    February 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Cathy Brandes

    Mike in Houston, so far the Republican ideas of the last 8 years have not worked so well have they! His policies are not fringe left nor are they disasterous for the nation. What is potentially disasterous is to do nothing OR continue with the path of the last 8 years.
    Perhaps a better idea to you and others like TCM, is to give the man a chance and put the country ahead of party.

    February 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Mary G. Leblanc

    The President has done enough 'reaching across the aisle'. Senator Gregg probably never intended to serve in his cabinet. This entire situation sounds Karl Rovian to me.

    February 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Christina

    I think that President Obama is sincere and well-intentioned in seeking GOP consultation/cooperation – after 8 years of suffocating partisanship, this is why we elected Mr. Obama rather than Sen. McCain. So, our President agrees to sink or swim with leaders from both sides of the aisle. However, the unfortunate result is that most of the GOP smells blood in the water – every untoward event (many of which weren't Obama's doing) becomes a reason to blast our President with the same tired labels we didn't believe in November. It's sad to see some of the comments here showing how some people are buying into the GOP rhetoric – what rational person really believes that doing the same thing (tax cuts only, most for the wealthy) that created this disaster is now going to magically solve the problem? Refer to the oft-sided quote about the definition of insanity...

    February 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. WhoCares?

    This was pure gold for the Democrats.

    Think about it :

    Obama does what he pledged by appointing a very conservative senator to his cabinet. He shows to the American Public that he kept his promise and reached out in a bipartisan way to help the country.

    Gregg DOES NOT ANSWER THE CALL FROM HIS PRESIDENT and removes himself from the position once again showing Americans that Republicans care much more for their own party than they do for America.

    This will turn out very well for the Democrats when 2010 & 2012 show up.

    February 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. williefloyd

    Has everyone forgotten that laughable statement from GWB "You're doing a great job Brownie"?? 'Nuff said.

    February 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. A Kickin' Donkey

    The hard reality is that only partisan Republicans will try to find any fault in Obama over cabinet selections. Democrats and Independents want to concentrate on these people ... cabinet members being in office and getting to work.

    He nominated a qualified latino ... Obama won't loose political points for that.

    He nominated a well respected, decent member of the Senate ... he won't loose many political points for that.

    He nominated a conservative fiscal Republican ... who pursued the job but then back out on his own accord. Obama won points for that and Judd Gregg lost points.

    February 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. BluesBrother

    It would seem the Republicans don't give a hoot about the country, all they care about is being in control. If they new anything about economics, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place!

    And as far as leadership, Palin is the best they can offer and she's not fit to run the moose lodge.

    February 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Mary K.

    TCM – is that the action plan Rush sent out today????? Fortunately most american have a brain and can think for themselves. and to Mike in Houston – how many hypocrtical repubs will take that stimulus money and SPEND SPEND SPEND. I look forward to their explanations regarding that!!!!

    February 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. willowood

    These "Ticker" postings from their inception certainly gives CNN a chance to fire up those who wish to remain anonymous when hurling insults, mistatements, and otherwise ridiculous comments. You do not see this type of journalism anywhere else when thoughtful dialogue is encouraged (well, perhaps Fox News.)
    You say they are reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Who is doing that service for you, CNN?
    Real names should be REQUIRED with thoughtful analysis of the days problems. I shudder when I read the hateful comments allowed to appear. In my opinion YOU contribute greatly to undermining the success of what President Obama is trying to do and for that matter what many of us are hoping to achieve~regard for the state of our country, allies, and non-allies to render hateful dialogue useless . People venting at home, in a bar, at a party is one thing. CNN providing a 'hate forum' is counter to what you should be trying to do. We need solutions. Please rethink your "anonymity" comment policy and provide us with palpable citizen analysis that gives way to real discussion. There are many people in our country who would like to be part of the solution. Try not to play to the lowest common denominator with anonymous postings. Let's all be accountable for our words and actions

    Thank you, Jody Delwiche Santa Rosa, CA

    February 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. David

    Obama is killing our economy. How could anyone support him right now?

    Nevermind. I work with people who still think OJ is innocent.

    Blind loyalty.

    February 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Evan

    Let's face it - the republicans are not going to take responsibility for the disaster they created. If they support President Obama now, it's the same as admitting that they screwed up for 8 years and put us in this sinkhole that just keeps getting deeper and deeper.

    Obama has a lot of fix, and there's no way to repair the economy and the nation quickly. It could take years. It could take two administrations to undo the damage Bush and the republicans created.

    February 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Lisa M

    I find it very fishy that Gregg pulled out so late in the game. Rumor has it that he campaigned to get nominated for the position and didn't back off until the GOP met with him.

    HMMMMMM.

    February 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Dexter in Houston TX

    Republicans have no credibility, they only care about destroying this country:

    The root of our recent problems is the mortgage crisis. It was caused by Republican legislation which deregulated the banking and investment industries. Because of that deregulation, banks and financial institutions made billions of dollars worth of sub-prime mortgage loans to unqualified people. Thanks to the Republicans, those mortgages were then traded in bulk on the stock market and were purchased by brokerage firms and large banks.

    February 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. no corporate politics

    reaching across the aisle becomes do it my way
    bring troops home becomes send troops to Afghanistan
    transparency becomes control the media and ram agendas through
    no lobbyists become use lobbyists
    hope becomes fear

    The public and the media need to start looking frankly so we can judge this new leader. Keep him honest and we will have a better leader.

    Question Authority!

    February 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. NW

    I happen to think it was a case of brilliant calculation...

    "See! We tried!"

    February 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. RJ

    Please post this CNN . You seem to be very one sided in what comments you allow as of late.

    As Republican, I take offense to some of the comments here.
    While some members of my party have their collective heads up their (censored), some of us do not wish for the country or the president to fail.
    A lot of us think Limbaugh and the like, are complete morons who need to have a gag shoved down their throat. They claims to speak for all, but trust me, a majority of us would be happy if they just STFU.

    What we true Republicans do not want to see is a welfare state emerge.

    I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination (I make less than $100k per year) and I did not make foolish financial decisions when the "me too" idiots were spending money they didn't have.
    So I take great offense at the "spread the wealth" crowd or the people who say all Republicans are unpatriotic and should all be jailed.

    And if you want to know "who" caused this financial mess, most of you need to look no further than you mirror.
    There is no who or they, just us. We're all in it and we all contributed to it in one way or another.
    And only WE can fix it.

    February 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. Shari, NY

    I see the world changing ffor the better ever so slightly since President Obama took office. Imagine, Mugabe has agreed to power sharing (NEVER BEFORE)!. Cuba and Venezuela are laying off the man; so are many other world leaders who used to berate and humiliate Bush et al. Let this Republican go about his business. He was probably not worth it anyway.

    February 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. ConsiderThis, FL

    For all of those who relish in criticizing President Obama for things that are beyond his control, why don't you run for President in 2012. I'm sure you would be a perfect president. We should be grateful that a person of Obama's intellect, character and integrity even wants to dedicate himself to helping clean up the mess left by the Bush administration. We really don't have any idea of the severity of the mess we're in and to have President Obama, someone who can talk to the American people with clarity and common sense is a blessing.

    February 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Baze

    Welcome to the real world, where people scrutinize every inch of performance, media outlets blow their opinions out of proportion, and no one is aware of the big picture.

    February 13, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. D J Schaeffer

    Voting today for the package that will indebt all of us for many years is stupid. And you can't fix stupid.

    February 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Al Mellen

    It is interesting to discover how many of our distinguished leaders seem to have some kind of tax problem. Considering what has taken place so far,,,,,,,,i am led to believe that there is not an honest, truthful one in the whole bunch. I now wonder if HONEST ABE himself was really honest. Is it impossible to find a legislator that tells the truth at this time. Is it impossible to find a legislator that does in fact pay his taxes like the rest of us do. Evidently, America is in more trouble than we are led to believe.

    February 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Republicans are Satins children!

    Seriously!! Republicans are acting like 2 year olds! WAA We lost!! WAAAAA!! GET OVER IT!! you are so STUPID! clearly you guy (bush) messed up us BIG time. He probably screwed our nation for years to come!! Republicans need to shut up and help us fix this mess they made! cause if they were actually monitering company and regulations, Wall Street would probably not have collapsed, and so many jobs would NOT be over seas!! Republicans are HORRIBLE people! every single one attacks me for being an Obama supporter!! they are so Vicious! I did nothing to them and they were horrible to me! Well Republicans will all end up at the right hand of the Devil!! UUGH! i cant believe i voted republican once!!! GO OBAMA!!!!!!!! WOOHOO! now i can dance say i won!! eat it John McCain!! woohoo!!! who cares about BiPartisonship! They didn't do it why should we!

    February 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. NOW WHAT

    I ca not djuge the man yet . this is a start for what we all wanted "change" . I learn to trust Obama's decision and judment . I ma pretty sure he knows what he is doing. those taxes issue were nto discovered by the american people but but his cabinet. they are the one;s that pointed the issue to congres-senate. Think Guys. all those "politic as usuaa" are being taking out one by one. Obama you better believe this gus is not stupid and i am refusing tho djuge a guy that has only be in the office for 3 weeks . Republican are laughung about his pick. I will rather have those picks that what "theirs" that put this country down. they should not have anything to say a this point

    February 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. carlo

    Glennis February 13th, 2009 12:23 pm ET

    I can't remember a time when I've seen such disorganization and ineptitude in trying to establish a cohesive administration. What a circus act.
    ****************************************************************************
    You can't?

    cough, cough, Harriet Miers, Gonzales, Rumsfield, cough, cough

    February 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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